Kolkata: Zoroastrian community rings in the new year on virtual platform in Covid times


August 19, 2020

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From little Anush Parsi Subbawala, who is under two, to nonagenarian Roshan Burge, better known as the “21 plus” among themselves, everyone was roped in as the Zoroastrian community celebrated its new year on Sunday. So what if they didn’t physically meet and dine? They did everything virtually from Saturday onwards to make the Corona year Navroze as special as possible.

Article by Jhimli Mukherjee | Times of India

imageSaturday was celebrated as Papeti, the last day of the year when forgiveness is sought so that the new year can begin on a clean slate.

On New Year’s eve, the 381-member community gathered around their screens to be transported back to the magical 60s and 70s evenings on Park Street, hand-held by Usha Uthup, who sang some of their favourite English and Hindi numbers. When the two-hour-long musical programme ended, everyone was happy to the brim, especially 238 of them, who are into their 60s. For them, it was a happy dose of nostalgia. “Usha has been a friend of the community for decades and she brings back those wondrous memories of young nights on Park Street alive for most of us,” said Noomi Mehta, a senior trustee of the Calcutta Zoroastrian Communities Religious and Charitable Fund.

On New year’s eve, the much-awaited directory of the community was released. It contains details of every member, even blood groups.

The celebration on Sunday started with the flag hoisting at the 112-year-old Calcutta Parsee Club. A video was taken and posted in the WhatsApp group that connects every member. To ensure that there is no break in the tradition due to the pandemic, the Calcutta Parsee Amateur Dramatics Club presented its play for the 113th year in succession on Sunday evening on the virtual platform that was streamed live on YouTube. “This is the most awaited event of the year for us and normally we gather at a theatre to see the performance. Our actors rehearse for months to bring this alive. This year despite the pandemic, the CPADC made it possible to stage another comedy, ‘Batli Bolechhe’ (The Bottle is Talking) and we laughed our guts out, throwing our worries out for once,” said Prochy Mehta, the community’s chronicler. Among the actors were Cyrus Madan, Yezdi Karai and Ratan Postwala.

However, the members missed the dinner organized after the play at the Olpadvala Hall, but a box of sweets reached every household on time.